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Truman's Aunt Farm Paperback – August 26, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Karas's strong signature style adds punch to Rattigan's ( Dumpling Soup ) sweet but befuddling tale. On his birthday Truman receives a mail-order "ant farm" from his Aunt Fran. But homonyms, for some reason, prove his downfall--pretty soon, he's overrun by hordes of generous "aunts" who shower him with affection. Truman treats them much like a cute but unexpected litter of puppies; he eventually allows a crowd of lonely kids into his house, and each pairs off with his or her ideal aunt. In the denouement, Aunt Fran arrives, apparently knowing what's happened ("He saw the twinkle in her eye. 'You did a wonderful thing,' said Aunt Fran"), but she never explains the strange gift. Karas's unique compositions make bold use of rich color, flattened perspectives and amiable, ruddy-cheeked figures. Still, the illustrations can't help but seem subdued in comparison with his adventurous work in Frances Minters's striking Cinder-Elly (reviewed below) . This may be attributable to the written material: try as it might to offer warmth and wackiness, Rattigan's narrative doesn't take risks--or, for that matter, make a clear point. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-It's a good pun, mistaking "aunt" for "ant," and one that tickles young ears. Aunt Fran sends Truman a coupon for an ant farm for his birthday, but when he tries to redeem it, he is sent more than 50 aunts instead- flattering aunts and funny aunts, aunts who bake and aunts who knit, gymnastic aunts and aunts who tickle-and they just keep coming. His first problem is what to feed them; his second, to find the right nieces and nephews for them. It's a major project, but he manages to make all the right matches and ends up with the one who has it all-Fran. This is a more playful book than Rattigan's Dumpling Soup (Little, 1993), and is served well by its art. Karas's amiable, pudgy cartoon characters have enlivened several beginning readers; his style is sharper here. Like the best cartoonists, he creates a multitude of expressions and stances with a minimum of line. The result is drawings that are both childlike and sophisticated. Using skewed proportion and perspective, he fills the pages with frantic activities that enhance and build upon the goofy appeal of the text.
Sally Margolis, Deerfield Public Library, IL
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 370L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 26, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395816564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395816561
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Truman has an interesting and clever aunt who seems to enjoy sending him unpredictable and adventurous gifts for his birthday. Naturally he is suspicious whenever the packages from his aunt arrive. However, in this instance he is overjoyed, because his aunt has apparently fulfilled his fond wish to own an "ant" farm. After sending away for this farm, however, what arrives at his doorstep is a growing collection of "aunts", in various shapes and sizes and temperaments, all very aunt-like. What he does with this situation takes up most of the rest of the book. My four year old daughter had a bit of trouble understanding the subtle word play between "ant" and "aunt"--not being able to detect the difference in spelling and needing me to explain the difference as we went along--which took away much of the impact. An older child might enjoy it quite alot more.
I found myself thinking that the person who would really enjoy this book was my younger sister, all of forty-something, who is the quintessential aunt and would probably find the book hilarious. But I wouldn't buy it for a four year old.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my daughter and my nephews when theywere 5, 6, and 7 y.o. They loved it and understood the aunt/ant wordplay. We read and reread this book, and even I never tired of it. And at the end of the book I always asked them, what did Truman's aunt do that made her so special, and they replied she really listened and she had fun with him. Good things for adults to do with kids.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just good fun of the type you want when reading a book with your kids or grandkids. Yes, they need to be old enough to understand the difference between ants and aunts but my children got that at a pretty young age and just thought the book was hilarious. It is one of the books I kept on the shelf from my kids' childhood to read to my grandkids.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't have kids of my own yet, but I adore my nieces and nephews. And we're the kind of wordplay-loving, joke-loving, random gift-giving family that would send (accidentally or otherwise) an aunt farm to show our love, or as any excuse for a visit. Found this gem out today with my 4yo godson (who also calls me auntie) and immediately sent copies to my 6&3yo nieces, and my 3yo niece. (Their brothers will appreciate the book too, but perhaps not quite yet.)
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Format: Paperback
This book, about a boy and his eccentric aunt who accidentally sends him an aunt farm instead of an ant farm for his birthday, is just precious. The boy sends his aunt a letter explaining the confusion, stating that he has an abundance of aunts, only she fails to understand what has happened and responds to his letter - telling him to check and see if any of his friends would like some of his ants. So he puts out a sign which reads: "Aunts... free to good home". Eventually all his Aunts are sent off with children who are happy to have them.

The silliness of this story will keep kids engaged and entertained.

DeeDee Fox, author and illustrator, The Ruby Red Slippers
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